Friday, March 17, 2017

'Tis a bloomin' bonanza in Borrego as flower frenzy takes the town

Mother Nature makes artful bouquets by the thousands on the desert floor of Anza Borrego State Park.
Here, the white blooms of the desert chicory poke up through the lavender of the sand verbena. 
Bruce Keller takes a photographer's aim at Anza Borrego's wildflower mecca.

Wildflowers appear in record numbers bringing flower frenzy to southern California's Anza Borrego desert


A veritable sea of yellow awaits as the desert dandelions
blanket the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.



heads up.

Grab your camera, hitch up your hiking shoes and head for the desert near Borrego Springs, California.

Prepare to be showered with the most spectacular showing of spring flowers seen in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park since the early 1990s.
We based at the lovely Casa del Zorro resort in Borrego (a stunning oasis on the desert with fabulous food, gorgeous views and splendid accommodations, to be featured later.
It deserves its own separate illustrated story, not to be overshadowed by flower power).
THE MANAGER at La Casa, Patrick Sampson, is an amiable Brit, fond of flowers and in love with the power of what he calls "flower frenzy." 
Arizona lupine, foreground, stretches toward the sky.
Crowds in this normally quiet and peaceful little town bear witness to the allure of this unusual bloom, beautiful in any year, extraordinary this spring.
 His popular and classy property has been running at full. Grocery stores are hustling to keep product on the shelves and you may not get your first-choice time at the restaurants. It's all well worth it.
Said Teresa, our amiable waitress at Zorros' fun dining venue, Fox Den, "We haven't seen anything like this in years."
At the small but adequate downtown market, shelf supplies were sparse as tourists queued up for crackers, sodas and sweets to keep them nourished for the viewing.
WHEN YOU first set eyes on nature's showy displays, it's as if a top-notch florist has visited before you, so artfully are the flowers arranged.
Hiker's proof: shoes are covered in pollen;
 we call it fairy dust, a pleasant trophy.

In a completely natural setting, mesmerized flocks stand in wonder to gaze at the complementary colors, lovely groupings of sand verbena, dune evening primroses with their  wide white petals, splashy yellow desert sunflowers, the dimunitive desert star bloom, delicate rock daisy, showy hedghog, happy monkey flower, sprawling onyx and checker fiddleneck -- which resembles the neck of a violin, thus the moniker.
DESERT LILIES beckon for closer inspection and the queen of the desert is the prolific bright yellow desert dandelion.
Roadsides are lined with the beauty, and Anza Borrego's 630,000 acres are filled with tourists.
Although the town boasts only 1,300 full-time residents, more than 20,000 of us visited last weekend. Restaurants, bars and shops overflow so it's a giant boost for the economy.
We joined the frenzy of camera-toting flower fans as we hit the trails, heads bowed. We had a good day, logging 23 varieties of blooms. The park's excellent complimentary wildflower guide is a huge help.
More lupine, in a lovely deep pink shade, and a hitchhiking butterfly.
Below right, a biker gets up close with excellent viewing.
The park's excellent complimentary wildflower guide is a huge help. Weekends are of course more crowded, so we came on a Wednesday-Thursday.
If you can get there early next week, viewing is expected to be at its zenith. Early in the week promises better access, so you can find lodging and parking spots in the lots.
Do make a lodging reservation and if you can't find a space in the hotels or air bnbs, consider staying in Chula Vista or San Diego, only 58 miles away.
You might also consider the charming town of Julian,
a charming town, then driving the 20 miles to Borrego. Go to

Portable bathrooms are also the only option once into the desert, and the parking lot spaces are farther from viewing spots as the day commences.
 The park has a wildflower hotline for information: 760 767-4684. Ask for maps and specific information about the status of the blooming season.
WE HOPE we don't have to wait another two decades for this splendid
wonder of nature to recur.
What a marvelous few days we had.  If you miss the Borrego blooms check out this website for spring flowers near you, including those on the Mojave, Joshua Tree and other deserts and venues:

The Birch Aquarium in San Diego has a world class series of exhibits.
NEXT UP: Fans of aquariums, we have a great one for you. Birch Aquarium in San Diego is a user-friendly find suitable for all ages. In it, discovery, interaction and education are the bywords. This gem of undersea treasures sparkles with the natural wonders of our oceans, giving special attention to sea life right out the window. The Aquarium also offers a splendid vantage point for viewing the mighty grey whales, now finishing its migration south from
Alaska to warmer Baja waters. Remember to explore, learn and live. Catch us each weekend for a novel approach to travel, nature and the lively arts.

1 comment:

  1. Los Angeles Flower LoversApril 15, 2020 at 4:17 PM

    This is a splendid piece, photos and story both. Sorry it took me so long to discover, and hoping for another power bloom soon.